tagReviews & EssaysDevils in The Pulpits

Devils in The Pulpits

bywistfall1©

In this essay, I primarily use the King James Version of the bible (KJV); secondarily, The Catholic Family Connections Bible (New American Bible—NAB); and where appropriate, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

Julie, or, anyone wishing to email me should do so through Literotica, and include your Literotica moniker so I can be sure you are on Literotica, and your email address if you wish a response.

As before, comments are welcome, but any preaching, witnessing, or other contradictory comments, will be deleted.

Preface

If Antiochus IV Epiphanes, hadn't tried to make the Jews worship the pagan gods that he had placed in their temple, would the Book of Daniel been written?

If the Book of Daniel hadn't been written, would we have the promise of a resurrection?

If Jesus didn't have the Book of Daniel and his words about "...them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awaken, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (12:2), would Christianity exist today as we have been given it?

How many of Christians know about this, about the Maccabees; about Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and his idols in the temple? More importantly, how many preachers of Christianity know the stories of the Maccabees and their war against idols in their temple? And have any of them put the "dots" together and wonder if there's even a connection that isn't preached about because these questions may arise?

From what I've noticed having been preached, and even written about, not many, if any. If so, are they simply ignorant of this, or do they intentionally not tell their parishioners about it? I suspect that in many cases—too many—it is ignorance. Then again...

What about those who do know of it? I'm not certain how many there may be—probably too many—but some of them love to charm their audience with their speaking series on the Book of Daniel and his "end time" tale. Lots of "Gee whiz" in them to mystify all those hungry souls who fervently believe and are thus easily led.

If what is suggested here is true, what does that mean for Christianity? More specifically, what does it mean for their "law of Moses" telling lesbians and gays about their being an abomination in the face of god, and prohibiting homosexuality and thereby prohibiting same-sex marriage?

More importantly, how many have been scarred by their terrifying preaching, and the culture inculcated by their words over several millennia so that it is part of our present culture of hate? Far too many, I think.

Can any of what I'm suggesting be proven?

I think so. In any event, here is how I came to these suggested conclusions, and here I'll present my findings to you and let you make up your own mind. By the way, all of my conclusions are based solidly on the bible itself with a slight boost from factually known history.

Chapter 1

Christianity lives or dies based on the idea of having your sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life in the resurrection, primarily in the "end time". Jesus is quoted as saying:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) (Matthew 24:15) , and

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.. (Matthew 24:22., and

And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (Matthew 25:32), and

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34), and

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:46.

This will be the end time and the resurrection of the dead, as well as the living. Scary stuff, huh?

Note that in Matthew 24:15, Jesus is said to quote from the Book of Daniel and that he calls Daniel a prophet.

I said, "... he is said to quote..." because his supposed words are given to us in the gospels "According" to: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but they most likely didn't write them, at least not the people suggested by their titles.

Matthew 24:15 is also in the gospel according to Mark in chapter 13:14.

The upshot of all of this is that the Book of Daniel was not written by Daniel (if there ever was such a person).

More, the Book of Daniel's initial setting is in the time of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar as in the Book of Daniel, chapter 1, verse1 as saying:

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

Further on, in verses 3 through 4, it says that Daniel and some others are to be taken to Babylon. Jehoiakim is said to have ruled from 609 to 598 BCE, so that sets the time of Daniel being taken at about 606 BCE (Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed about 587 BCE. Since verse 3 and 4 of the first chapter says that Daniel and others were "children in whom there was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science", that most likely places the age of Daniel at about twelve years old when he was taken, if that what is said is to be believed.

All that said, it is acknowledged that the Book of Daniel was not written until about 164 BCE, or as the Catholic bible says. "...four hundred yeas later; during the reign of an evil Greek-Syrian king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes." We can readily believe that it was somewhere about that time since there are so many errors in the Book of Daniel, and many of them historical. The Catholic bible owns up to a part of it saying "the story of this chapter was originally entirely independent...and later retouched to fit its present setting."

Now that's a cute way of saying that it was either edited (or written by more than one "unknown writer" altering it later on}. As I said, it's believable since there are so many errors in it, not the least being that some of it is in narrative style, and another in first person by no less than Nebuchadnezzar, then suddenly, in the same chapter, reverts to narrative by the unknown writer; and lastly, to "Daniel".

This, if it is read carefully and the errors admitted to, could have one wondering if such an important book is really that of a prophet such that the main character in the New Testament, Jesus, could base as true what he is quoted as saying, namely, the resurrection. Follow along and you will see why I question all of this, then ask yourself objectively if any of the "resurrection" is true, and thus those "end time" sayings.

* * * *

About the title of this essay:

In the Hebrew Bible Satan never originally appears as Western Christendom had come to know him, as the leader of an "evil empire,"..

Note that


...in the Hebrew Bible, Satan...appears in the book of Numbers and in Job as one of God's obedient servants, or angel, a word that translates as the Hebrew term for messenger... He was later changed to be as we have commonly come to know him.

It is not the name of a particular character.

The book of Job, too, describes the satan as a supernatural messenger, a member of God's royal court.

...these dissidents began increasingly to invoke the satan to characterize their Jewish opponents... No longer one of God's faithful servants, he begins to become what he is for Mark and for later Christianity—God's antagonist, his enemy, even his rival.

As Satan became an increasingly important and personified figure, stories about his origin proliferated.


The above are quotations [minor portions paraphrased] from "The Origin Of Satan" by the highly respected author, Elaine Pagels © Professor of Religion at Princeton University (published by First Vintage Books, 1995).

As she says, we have morphed the satan, a messenger from God, into many things evil, all attributed to Satan, a corruption of the original use from thing to person.

And it is still being used in its corrupted manner, and thus, the title of this essay, The Devils In The Pulpit. Here's a sample exemplifying just who may be some of the truly evil one(s):

* * * *

The barrage of anti-gay sermons delivered by North Carolina-based pastors to hit the blogosphere continues with yet another disturbing rant caught on tape.

The pastor, Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., condemns President Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage, while calling for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

Build a great, big, large fence -- 150 or 100 mile long -- put all the lesbians in there, Worley suggests in the clip, reportedly filmed on May 13.

He continues: Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out...and you know what, in a few years, they'll die out...do you know why? They can't reproduce!

He also said that if he's asked who he'll vote for, he'll reply, ;I'm not going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover! Many of the congregants cheer and reply, Amen.

Worley added, "It makes me pukin sick to think about -- I don't even whether or not to say this in the pulpit -- can you imagine kissing some man?


The pastor's comments seem in line with statements made by Ron Baity, founding pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, who told his own congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) be prosecuted as they were historically. ... and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as a perverted lifestyle; in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle; he is quoted as saying. We've gone down the wrong path. We've become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we've...discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck. Similarly, Tim Rabon condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already re-defined marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples before asking his congregants, What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We're not far from that.

A Mississippi state lawmaker quoted a Bible passage on Facebook calling for gay men to be put to death, has taken to the social networking site again to refuse to apologize for the remark.

Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) Friday to say that although he has been receiving emails and calls [with regard to his statement], he will not say he's sorry. The emails have come in response to a petition calling on the lawmaker to issue an apology and to meet with LGBT groups in Mississippi.

"To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God's Word. [bold mine] It is one thing that will never change" Gipson wrote. "Anyone who knows me knows I also believe that all people are created in God's image, and that all people are loved by God, so much so that He gave us the truth of His Word which convicts us of the reality and guilt of our sin, and He gave us His Son Jesus who paid the full penalty for all our sins, by His grace through our faith in Him as we repent of our sin. It is this message that I preach every Sunday. I sincerely pray God will reach someone through this message."


Gipson is a Baptist minister and a business lawyer when not serving in the Legislature. He notes that his family are of the Christian faith, and are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.The passage from Leviticus that Gipson first cited reads: If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

On Facebook at least, Gipson has received overwhelming support for his original comments and his refusal to apologize. Eighty-three people have liked his post, and he's received dozens of supportive comments, including praise for supporting God and sticking to his original message. I stand with you my friend. ... GOD is in control ... no place for Gays, Ted W. Cole.

Gipson, 35, has served in the Mississippi Legislature since 2008. He chairs a judiciary committee.


Some of you may have heard words like this said from some pulpits. If you're one of them, hopefully these facts will help you to understand their errors and thus alleviate the bad taste of their words.

But after this essay ask yourself, if you're one of the unfortunate believers to have been subjected to preachers spewing their hatred, whether they've ever preached on the effects of the Maccabees on the book of Daniel, or on anything that might have affected the Christian faith.

* * * *

One other thing that has led me to write these essays: They're still at it. I don't know of any further diatribes that have been recorded by others—this was enough for me—but they're still at it, passing state laws to suit their beliefs and bottling up the courts that keep knocking them down, but they don't quit. When the state courts overturn them as in Iowa, they get out the vote and eliminate those judges who voted against their wishes, never mind their logic, they went against what they considered the Word of God.

They'll never quit! In one way or another, they'll keep on trying to subject us all to live under their beliefs.

* * * *

This essay will bounce back and forth, hopefully, in the whole, it will all make sense.

Liv, in my story, The Devil's Gateway, said that we live in the golden age of books (information), at least here and in Europe, as well as many other countries. Many of those books are now available, especially on religion and the bible. Well, they've always been available, but most were what Liv called "me-too" books. The me-too books were, and are, full of praise, select phrases, and lots of preaching, so to speak.

Lately, in the last fifteen years or so, other books that aren't of the me-too variety, have been published. I've listed many of them in my stories and essays. For the most part, these books are easy to read and full of verifiable facts, and wouldn't you know it, most of the facts are verifiable in the bible itself thus making it easy to verify said facts (including what's in my essays).

These books make the bible truly accessible and understandable, but, not as the me-too books would have you believe. My stories and essays have born this out, and stand up to any criticism as to factualness.

No, I'm not an expert on the bible, just someone who has been learning for many years, and sorting out the early confusions that were instilled in me early on in my existence. And I'm still learning! As always, you'll find that for the most part, I give solid information to substantiate my criticisms, and that includes bible verses, and where they are so you, the reader, can check out my facts for yourself.

On a personal note, though it angered me to find that I'd been lied to so much by preachers and teachers, it was always just that—personal. However, with events such as California's Proposition 8, and the sudden loud hues and cries from the stiff-necked preachers with their condemnation of homosexuality, and their posturing of family values, I had to say something to try to help lesbians, many of whom have been humiliated and shamed from the pulpits, as well as made to feel guilty and torn apart by what they've had instilled in them, yet hearing the demanding inner voices of their bodies that are demanding in their own right.

Even many of the politicians are spewing biblical righteousness. The bible, many of them say, is inerrant, every word a pearl from the mouth and heart of God Almighty himself. Boy, have they got it wrong. I mean, they're, for the most part, intelligent, so how is it that they can't see what's right in front of them? I'll tell you why: what they see is what they've been taught to see, and believe the select verses they've been fed in bible school—for Protestant and Independents, and what about Catholics? In general, they're not taught much of anything in their catechism classes for young people, if history still remains as it was in my early days, but ritual is bred into them.

Well, something has to give, but too often it has meant suppressing what is true within, or facing social criticism, as well as the loss of family ties. It's not right! This is also true of many of the other LGBTers.

Okay, the fundamentalists will keep on seeing what they've been taught instead of what really is in the bible, though I do hope some will realize their error. The bible is not the word of any god, period! Read on and you'll begin to see. However, it's the lesbians, the LGBTers, that I hope this is of help to if help they need in understanding.

For the many others in the straight world who haven't been as these fundamentalists—or Catholics—I have this to say: think about if your silence isn't enabling. You know, like a parent who keeps giving an addicted child money knowing full well that they'll spend it on drugs. No, not asking for you to raise a loud voice in opposition to the fundamentalists and their phony new plethora of "laws" to "protect" their rights, just to say no to them if you see the truth of my words. Yeah, they're still at it. Blind belief, and willful blindness is their trademark.

Chapter 2 Archeology, Jews, History

"In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites." [Italics mine.]

This is from, The Bible Unearthed (page 107), by Israel Finkelstein, Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman © (Simon and Shuster, 2002).

They report most settlements of about one hundred total people on only one acre in size, with the largest about a few hundred on only three or four acres. Total population of not more than forty-five thousand. What they say about their life is striking: "...they seem to have lived relatively peacefully and were able to maintain a self-sufficient economy. They were quite isolated from regional trade routes and also seem to have been quite remote from one another; there is no indication that any trade goods were exchanged between the highland villages."

This tranquility was about to change radically.

Egypt ruled Canaan, for the most part, though Assyria was making major noises. Those quiet settlements had to grow, and thus came into the view of the emerging powers. And the Jews eventually had a king and strife. A lot of strife.

"Pul", or Tiglath Pileser III, ruled over Assyria from 745 to 727 BCE. Long after him, a king became very famous, such that Dracula was most likely fashioned Vlad the Impaler followed after Pul, both shoving stakes up captured people or in Vlad's case, invading Turks. The terror it inflicted apparently worked, but it was Pul long before Dracula that had enemy soldiers with stakes through their bodies. This as a warning to other enemies of what they could expect. Tiglath Pileser III captured a lot of territory and made Assyria much feared.

This is not to say the Jews hadn't met warfare till then, only to point out that they had to know the absolute horror of it, including the dispersal of their population at various times. They, like other people of the time, had a belief in their god, or most likely, many gods (see Psalm 82 for one proof of this). They'd also grown enough to have a unifying king, David, of course, then many kings. They were no longer a safe and isolated people.

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